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18th VistA Community Meeting

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18th VistA Community Meeting / January 8-11, 2009 Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

  • VistA Community Meeting
When Jan 08, 2009 09:30 AM to
Jan 11, 2009 04:00 PM
Where Arizona State University, Tempe
Contact Name
Contact Phone +1 (610) 578-4265
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"The place to connect with people if you are serious about VistA"


Registration is now open. Click here for Non-Member meeting registration

Current WorldVistA members will receive an e-mail with a URL for member registration.  If you believe you are currently a member in good standing and do not received an e-mail by December 8, 2008, please contact Peter Bodtke (e-mail address for contacts are at the end).

[Add this link to your RSS reader for updates on WorldVistA conferences.]


  • $300 - Non-members (includes 1-year membership)
  • $200 - WorldVistA members in good standing

Lunches and food & drink at breaks are included in the fee.

Sponsorships & Waivers

Please contact K.S. Bhaskar or Peter Bodtke if your organization would like to sponsor a lunch or breaks.

If you are a WorldVistA member, and you will be making technical contributions to the conference, you may request a waiver of the conference fee.  Please contact Nancy Anthracite, K.S. Bhaskar, or Peter Bodtke to request a waiver.


In previous VistA Community Meetings, thanks to donations from benefactors, we were able to offer a limited number of "scholarships" to those who have the potential and interest in contributing to the VistA community, but who have not yet acquired the expertise to make technical contributions.  WorldVistA has decided to formalize these as the Tom Ackerman Memorial Scholarships.  In addition to funding scholarships with "current" donations, we would also like to establish a corpus from which to provide stable funding for scholarships to VistA events.  Please contact K.S. Bhaskar, Peter Bodtke or Maury Pepper to request a scholarship - or if you or your organization would like to make a donation to the Tom Ackerman Memorial Scholarship fund.  Donations can be made anonymously or as named funds that are publicly acknowledged.

Update, Dec 18, 2008: Joel Levine and George Lilly are the Tom Ackerman Memorial Scholarship recipients for the 18th VistA Community Meeting.

About the 18th VistA Community Meeting

The goal of VistA Community Meetings is for those involved in the VistA Community to network & collaborate, i.e., to share ideas and work, with the objective of moving VistA & the VistA community forward.  VistA Community Meetings are highly interactive, hands-on, working meetings.  Please come prepared to contribute as well as to learn.

Compared to most meetings, VistA Community Meetings are relatively unstructured.  The agenda is always a draft agenda, because attendees are free to change it – even during the meeting – in order to better meet their objectives.

VistA Community Meetings were originally almost exclusively technical meetings.  Over time, the balance shifted, so that although there is still a strong technical focus, there are increasingly discussions on other aspects, including implementation, support, demonstration, education, training, and WorldVistA organizational issues (e.g., membership).

Please come prepared to discuss your interest in and work with VistA.  If you wish to present material, please come prepared with your presentation, either electronic or a poster.  There will be ample opportunities to present your work to others who are interested.

To send suggested changes to this agenda, please e-mail K.S. Bhaskar or Peter Bodtke.  Also, if you have actually implemented VistA in your organization, please contact us as soon as possible - we would very much like to schedule time for you to talk about your implementation.


At the 18th VistA Community Meeting, we hope to

  • once again resurrect hands-on technical collaboration, 

  • try a poster session, and

  • organize a track with sufficient content to be able to offer CME credits.

If either is of special interest to you, please contact us.

Previously mentioned tour of Clinica Adelante, Surprise, AZ

After some discussion, it was determined that a tour of a primary care clinic outside of operating hours, even one using VistA, would be neither entertaining nor intellectually stimulating, especially since the trip would involve driving for the best part of an hour each way.  So, the program will bring Clinica Adelante to you, with presentations of VistA in operation at Clinica Adelante front to back!

Location, Facilities, Lodging

The 18th VistA Community Meeting will take place on the Tempe campus of Arizona State University in the Artisan Court at the Brickyard Thursday morning, January 8 through early afternoon Sunday, January 11, 2009.

The nearest airport is Phoenix Sky Harbor International (PHX) from where a light rail service to the Tempe campus of ASU is now operational (exit at 3rd & Mill Ave).  [The PHX inter-terminal shuttle buses take you to the light rail stop.  Buy a ticket on the platform and take the rail going eastbound, towards Tempe.]

We have arranged for a block of rooms at:

Courtyard Tempe Downtown
601 South Ash Avenue
Tempe, AZ 85281
Reservations: (800) 352-9048 or (480) 966-2800

There is WorldVistA group rate of $125/night, with one King size bed or two Queen size beds with a cut-off date of January 2, 2009.  Please book early.  This is an exceptional rate for this location and time.

The meeting venue, light rail service and hotel are all about four blocks from one another.  Click here for a map showing all three.

[From the 3rd & Mill station walk two blocks south on Mill Ave to 5th St.  Turn right on 5th, and walk two blocks to the hotel.  Lobby is on the south.  From the hotel, the easiest way to get to the conference is to walk across the parking lot on the east of the hotel.  Walk one block east on 6th to Mill.  Go through the building (BYENG) on the East side of Mill Ave to a courtyard.  BYAC is on the right.  There is metered parking on the street, and a parking garage with an entrance on 7th St and Myrtle Ave, one block east of 7th and Mill.]

Click here for Tempe weather.


We would like to express our appreciation to Drs. Craig Parker & Bob Greenes of Arizona State University for hosting the meeting.

Meeting Organization

If you would like to make a presentation, please contact K.S. Bhaskar or Peter Bodtke as soon as possible.

Tracks for VistA Community Meetings are ultimately decided by the attendees, their interests and their ability to present.  Below are the current tracks for the 18th VistA Community meeting.  Please contact the coordinators for more information on each track.  Please contact K.S. Bhaskar or Peter Bodtke to provide feedback and discuss the tracks themselves.

  • Special CHC track: Migrant and Community Health Centers - Coordinated by Matt King

  • Technical - Coordinated by Dave Whitten & Chris Richardson
  • VistA Installation & Configuration - Coordinated by Nancy Anthracite, K.S. Bhaskar, and Peter Bodtke.
    • The server side of WorldVistA EHR is a pure MUMPS application for which there are two reference stacks: a FOSS stack of GT.M on Linux and a proprietary stack of Caché on Windows.   Support is available on commercial terms (not from WorldVistA) for both FOSS and proprietary stacks.  A hybrid approach of a FOSS software appliance (virtual machine of WorldVistA EHR on GT.M on Linux) on a computer running Linux, Mac OS X, Windows, etc. is also feasible.  If you come with a computer, you will be able to leave with WorldVistA EHR running on it in on your choice of one of the three configurations.  Please note:
      • For the complete FOSS stack:
        • If you want Linux installed on your hard drive, you will be able to do this at the meeting.  If you are running another OS, please defragment your hard drive beforehand and ensure that you have at least 5GB free.  The installation process will create a new partition from the free space and configure your PC to dual boot.  If you plan to do this, back up your PC before you come to Tempe - although the installation is generally safe, we don't want your PC to be the exception.
        • If you already have Linux installed, please ensure you have 2GB free space on your hard drive.
        • All the software to be installed is FOSS and will be provided at the meeting.
      • For the hybrid approach, please ensure that you have 3GB free space, either on your hard drive, or on a USB drive.  All the software to be installed is FOSS and will be provided at the meeting.
      • For the proprietary stack, since WorldVistA can distribute FOSS but cannot distribute proprietary software, please ensure that you have legal licenses for the stack, and also ensure that your hard drive has at least 2GB free.
      • Regardless of your choice of software stack, configuring the WorldVistA EHR application for your institution or practice is the same and the same level of application functionality is available on either stack.
  • Other tracks depending on interest.

Living Agenda

The meeting's living agenda is still evolving and will continue to evolve till the end of the meeting.  Check back regularly.

In addition to the above, topics of interest include:

  • Implementation site report

  • Supporting languages and development tools

  • New developments

  • Privacy

  • Certifications and standards

  • Panel discussions

  • Drug and procedure issues

Please contact K.S. Bhaskar or Peter Bodtke with suggestions or to volunteer to give a presentation.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Arrive, network, pick up name tags
Meeting Overview and Logistics by K.S. Bhaskar, Co-founder and Director, WorldVistA (Room 110)

Welcome to Arizona State University (Room 110)
Our hosts, Craig Parker, will welcome us to Arizona State University.
Keynote Session (Room 110)
1015 Break - refreshments provided

Introductions (Room 110)

Since networking and collaboration are the most important goals of VistA Community Meetings, an important activity at VistA Community Meetings is for all attendees to introduce themselves.  Each of us will take a maximum of 60 seconds to tell the group:
  • Who I am and what organization(s) I am associated with.
  • What my interest in VistA is.
  • What would make the meeting a success for me.
Lunch - provided by GT.M

Plenary Session (Room 110)
  • 1315 Transforming Health Care Through Open Source by Edmund Billings, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Medsphere
    Despite evidence that clinical systems can help improve care, save lives, reduce costs and increase revenue, the unfortunate fact is that only 15 percent of health organizations use advanced clinical systems and electronic medical records.  The Open Source business and development model offers health care an opportunity to transform itself.
  • 1400 Talk by Johanna Barraza-Canon, Director, Division of HIT Policy, OHIT, HRSA
Finalize tracks and agenda based on interest (Room 110)
Break - refreshments provided

Breakout into parallel tracks
  • Track 1 (Room 150) CHC Track
    • 1515 WorldVistA CPRS Tour: A Quick Tour of Clinica Adelante's CPRS functionality by Syed Bokhari, Clinica Adelante

    • 1555 Front Office and Medical Record Duties at Clinica Adelante using WorldVistA EHR by Syed Bokhari
      Registering patients, office communication; Electronic Patient Referrals; Scanning and Document Viewing; Managing Chart Extractions when converting from paper to electronic charts.
  • Track 2 (Room 190) Technical Track
    • 1515 VistA Holographic EMR by Chris Richardson Co-founder & Corporate Secretary, WorldVistA [90 minutes]
  • Track 3 (Room 110)
    • 1515 Panel Discussion: The Open Source Community - Advocacy, Marketing and Open Source by Matt King, Medical Director, Clinica Adelante and Chair, WorldVistA Board od Directors, Edmund Billings, Chief Medical Officer, Medsphere, and Roger Maduro, Publisher, VistA News  [90 minutes]

      Discuss how diffuse groups can come together on selected issues to benefit the entire community, Nash Economics and Open Source, Open Source Community and the Customer Supply Chain. Prospects, marketing and selling in the Healthcare Open Source Environment

  • Track 4 (Room 240)
    • 1515 Hands-on VistA Installation & Configuration activities led by Nancy Anthracite, Chief Medical Officer, WorldVistA [90 minutes]


An important part of VistA Community Meetings is that we refine them as we go, and this meeting will help refine the meeting for the subsequent days.
  • Coordinators of tracks to report on progress of and plans for each track.
  • Feedback to organizers - what needs improvement.
Dinner - on your own


Friday, January 9, 2009


Announcements and introduction of those not previously introduced (Ballroom)

Plenary Session (Room 110)
  • 0900 Tribute to Tom Ackerman led by JohnLeo Zimmer
    Tom Ackerman was a member of the VistA & MUMPS communities, a teacher and friend to all.  He recently left us permanently, with a vacuum in our community.  In this session, we will celebrate Tom Ackerman's life, his warmth and humor.  If you knew him, please share an anecdote about Tom, or perhaps a joke he told you.  Bring a photo, or a video.  His son Bill will be at the session.
  • 1000 VistATour by Peter Bodtke
    Peter Bodtke is currently traveling through Central America, spreading the word (and CDs containing software) about VistA.  He will interrupt his journeys to update us in person.
1030 Break - refreshments provided

Breakout into parallel tracks
  • Track 1 (Room 150) CHC Track
    • 1045 Back Office Duties: Entering Vitals, Social History, Point of Care (POC) labs, and other data before the clinician arrives by Matt King
    • 1130 Provider Duties in VistA: Managing Clinical Reminders, Alerts and Notifications, Creating Orders and Referrals the Clinica Way, practical template use by Matt King
  • Track 2 (Room 190) Technical Track
    • 1045 TRAC Server: How to use subversion and TRAC for source code management by Ray Anthracite
    • 1130 VistA Date and Time Extensions by Chris Richardson
  • Track 3 (Room 110)
    • 1045 Software Life Cycle & Testing in the FOSS Environment by Cameron Schlehuber [90 minutes]
      This is a technical workshop on preparing software for KIDS testing & release, and testing releases.  In order to ensure a productive & in-depth discussion, attendance is by prior registration, and limited to those who already have strong VistA infrastructure technical skills.  Please e-mail K.S. Bhaskar to register.
  • Track 4 (Room 240)
    • 1045 Hands-on VistA Installation & Configuration activities led by Nancy Anthracite [90 minutes]
Lunch - provided

Poster Session (Rooms 150, 190)
  • This is an experiment for the VistA Community Meetings.  If you are working on something, but don't have enough material for a formal presentation, if you want to interact more than talk, come to the 18th VistA Community Meeting with a poster of your work.  Find a corner in one of the first floor rooms, put up your poster, and engage people as they come by.
VistA Software Development Lifecycle Working Group brainstorming session (Room 110)
  • The VistA Software Development Lifecycle Working Group will meet to brainstorm on ways to maintain the VistA Software Development Lifecycle outside the VA so that that the multiple implementations of VistA can retain a common DNA in order to share code, standards, development, etc.  This is an opportunity for VistA technical experts to interact and brainstorm, and is not a session with presentations of general interest.
Break - refreshments provided

Parallel Tracks
  • Track 1 (Room 150) CHC Track
    • 1515 Making Simple Template: Using the GUI template editor to make simple templates, provide the “right” choice as the default and speed data entry (Intermediate level) by Syed Bokhari
    • 1600 Making Patient Data Objects: When they are needed and how to create them (Advanced level) by Syed Bokhari
  • Track 2 (Room 190) Technical Track
    • 1515 VistA Fault Tolerance by Chris Richardson [90 minutes]
  • Track 3 (Room 110)
  • Track 4
    • 1515 Hands-on VistA Installation & Configuration activities led by Nancy Anthracite [90 minutes]
Regroup and review
Dinner - on your own


Saturday, January 10, 2009


Plenary Session (Room 110)
  • 0900 What VistA has meant to Clinica Adelante, and Future Plans by Avein Tafoya, CEO, Clinica Adelante
  • 0945 The VistA Stack by Larry Landis, CIO, WorldVistA
    The VistA Software Stack is like a layer cake, from the hardware at the bottom to applications and services on top.  Larry will present and discuss the role of each layer.

Break - refreshments provided

 Parallel Tracks
  • Track 1 (Room 150) CHC Track
    • 1045 Health Factors: Why you need them and how to create them. Input and Output Templates; Using Patient Data Objects and Health Factors to create complex clinical templates (Advanced level) by Syed Bohkari [90 minutes]
  • Track 2 (Room 190) Technical Track
    • 1045 Configuring and Managing VistA to live like the proverbial Maytag repairman by Larry Landis
      Yes, it is possible to configure and manage VistA so that everything runs smoothly even when something bad happens, like a system crash.
    • 1130 The VistA Legacy Clinical Procedures system by Bill Ackerman
  • Track 3 (Room 110)
    • 1045 Panel Discussion - HIPAA, Network Security and VistA Security [90 minutes]
      Common Violations of HIPAA in the IT sector; How to manage access and security in the HIPAA environment; Guidelines for logging, remote access, managing incidents, etc. - we are attempting to line up a technical panel and arrange for CME credits.
  • Track 4 (Room 240)
    • 1045 Hands-on VistA Installation & Configuration activities led by Nancy Anthracite [90 minutes]
Lunch - provided

Product, Vendor and Organization Showcase & Update (Room 110)
These short presentations will feature short presentations & updates on products, vendors and organizations in the VistA arena.
  • 1330 VistA Expertise Network by Owen Hermsen
  • 1350 Sequence Managers Software by JohnLeo Zimmer, MD
  • 1410 vxVistA by Deanne Clark, vxVistA Product Line Manager, DSS Inc.
  • 1430 WorldVistA EHR Running In UnderTen Minutes With a Virtual Machine by K.S. Bhaskar
1500 Break - refreshments provided

Parallel Tracks
  • Track 1 (Room 150) CHC Track
    • 1515 Quick Orders and Order Sets by Syed Bokhari [90 minutes]
      Order sets allow clinicians to manage a particular disease from one screen. Done thoughtfully, they can reduce medical errors while speeding delivery of care. Here's how to do it.  (Advanced level)
  • Track 2 (Room 190) Technical
    • 1515 Growing the Next Generation of VistA Experts by Rick Marshall, VistA Expertise Network
  • Track 3 (Room 110)
    • 1515 The vxVistA Implementation at Aspire Behavioral Health by Tom Arnold, Aspire Behavioral Health, Inc.
    • 1600
  • Track 4 (Room 240)
    • 1515 Hands-on VistA Installation & Configuration activities led by Nancy Anthracite [90 minutes]
Regroup & review (Ballroom)
Dinner - on your own


Sunday, January 11, 2009


Keynote Session (Room 110)
The WorldVistA Executive Team on the Spot
Nancy Anthracite, K.S. Bhaskar, Peter Bodtke, Joseph Dal Molin, Matt King, Larry Landis, Maury Pepper, Chris Richardson, Colin Smith and Dave Whitten of the WorldVistA Executive Team will be at the front of the room for any WorldVistA organizational issues or discussion that any member wishes to raise.

Open Source Licensing - Navigating the mysteries and understanding the benefits of open source software models by Ray Anthracite
Break - refreshments provided

Parallel Tracks
  • Track 1
  • Track 2
  • Track 3 (Room 110)
    • 1045 Software Development the VistA Way: Open-source Lessons by Rick Marshall [90 minutes]
      Another high energy presentation by an acknowledged expert in both the VA software development process as well as knowledgeable in FOSS processes
  • Track 4 (Room 240)
    • 1045 Hands-on VistA Installation & Configuration activities led by Nancy Anthracite

Working lunch - provided
Boxed lunches will be available early so that those who need to catch flights can grab a box and leave.
  • Closing discussions
  • Feedback to organizers
  • Action items / follow-up

End of 18th VistA Community Meeting
  • Meeting organizers and WorldVistA executive team members are requested to stay behind to debrief



Event Contacts

Nancy Anthracite / nancy *at* worldvista *dot* org

K.S. Bhaskar / bhaskar *at* worldvista *dot* org

Peter Bodtke / pbodtke *at* worldvista *dot* org

Matt King / mking *at* clinicaadelente *dot* com

Larry Landis / ldl *at* gmail *dot* com

Maury Pepper / mpepper *at* worldvista *dot* org

Chris Richardson / rcr *at* rcresearch *dot* us

Dave Whitten / whitten *at* worldvista *dot* org